From the start of the SC2 assessment process, the Fresno mayor and key city staff were involved in shaping the vision for how the initiative would play out in Fresno. Specifically, during the Opportunity Assessment Team site visit, the mayor gave a presentation on the city’s needs related to economic development, workforce development, and transportation. The city team then discussed the mayor’s vision for addressing these needs, current efforts to further the vision, and the city’s highest priorities for implementation. This briefing helped the Opportunity Assessment Team determine which agencies would be deployed in Fresno as part of the SC2 team.
At the time of deployment, city staff shared additional details about Fresno’s short- and long-term economic development plan with the SC2 team. The top priority for the city was to revitalize Fresno’s downtown. The mayor believed a key component of this effort was the Fulton Mall, an 18-block pedestrian mall that was once a vibrant gathering place but today is typically devoid of street life. Another priority was to pursue an export-related food manufacturing and processing strategy as a way to leverage the agricultural production outside of downtown Fresno and focus on job opportunities in the value-added food manufacturing and processing industry within the city limits.
The existence of a city plan helped team members identify meaningful ways they could contribute. With the plan in mind, the city and the SC2 team identified priorities and developed the SC2 pilot work plan. The SC2 team lead placed great emphasis on cross-agency collaboration and pushed the team to develop work plan tasks that would require them to act outside their usual job spheres and in collaboration with other team members.
The formal work plan included 10 objectives, each with specific and defined goals or activities. These were downtown revitalization, business development, economic development and innovation, high-speed rail, transportation, land use planning, livable communities/housing, resource management and sustainability, workforce development and adult education, and homelessness.